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David Brearley Fun Run

In 2024, the Lawrence Historical Society established the David Brearley Fun Run, an annual 5K run between the Brearley House and Port Mercer Canal House.


The Run is held each year in early June, as close as possible to David Brearley's June 11th birthday.

David Brearley

David Brearley was born on June 11, 1745 in Maidenhead, New Jersey, as Lawrence Township was then known. He attended Princeton University where he "read law" and worked in private practice until the American Revolution in 1776.

Upon the outbreak of hostilities, Brearley joined the Heard's New Jersey militia brigade, seeing action at battles in Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. He remained in the army until 1779, when he returned to New Jersey to serve as the first chief justice of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

Brearley served with distinction as Chief Justice, from 1779 until 1789, during which he presided over numerous cases, including Holmes v. Watson, in which he ruled that the judiciary could declare laws unconstitutional -- more than a decade before the US Supreme Court made a similar ruling in Marbury v. Madison.

During the 1787 Constitutional Convention, Brearley played a key role as Chair of the Committee on Postponed Parts. Under his chairmanship, the committee decided significant issues related to the presidency, electoral college, and intellectual property rights.

President Washington appointed Brearley as the first federal district court judge for New Jersey in 1789. Brearley's tenure as judge was cut short by his untimely death on August 16, 1790.

David Brearley Fun Run 2024

The 2024 edition of the David Brearley Fun Run will take place on Saturday, June 8th at 8:30 am. To register, click here.


Parking will be offsite at the Corporate Center on Lenox Drive.  Visitors are asked to enter the lot at the light on Princeton Pike and Lenox Drive.  Follow the road to the rear lots, where visitors can either walk to the Brearley House.

History-themed prizes will be awarded to the top 3 overall finishers and to the top 3 in each age group (0-17, 18-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60+). 


For younger runners, there will be a short lap around the Brearley House meadow. All kids run participants will receive a "Don't Give Up the Ship" pin, in honor of the Lawrence Township namesake, Captain James Lawrence (a War of 1812 hero).

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